A post ranting about the high cost of rent in Richmond was trending on Chinese social media earlier this week.
According to the post on Vanpeople.com, a Chinese-language website for free classified ads, a person looking to rent was appalled when they came across an ad for a two-bedroom apartment in Richmond centre listed at $3,000/month.
"There is not even a single piece of furniture inside the apartment, and the $3,000 rental fees don't include any Wi-Fi or electricity fees,” the person wrote on Vanpeople.
The condo is described as “brand new and spacious” although it didn’t list the square footage. The landlord also required the renter to sign a one-year contract.
"That's a huge amount of money," said Richmond housing advocate John Roston, reacting to the $3,000/month listing.
However, he noted that housing unaffordability has been an issue in Richmond for years now.
Roston said when he got involved in politics four years ago, he spoke to many young people who were struggling to find an affordable place to rent in Richmond.
And even people who own a comfortable home in Richmond now are impacted by the high rents, noted Roston.
"If you don't think the housing crisis is important to you and you live in a comfortable house right now, then the next time you go into a grocery store or a restaurant, look around at the staff. These people can't afford to live here. They all have long commutes from somewhere else.
"What's going to happen is they will look for jobs closer to where they live. That’s why we have Richmond companies that say they can't keep staff. The housing crisis is important to you, even if you have a comfortable house."
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)'s most recent data is from October 2021. At that time, a two-bedroom apartment in Richmond city centre cost $1,542/month. However, the highest rents in Richmond were in Richmond West where a two-bedroom apartment cost on average $1,767/month last October.